Your AS Journey

NICE ‘SPONDYLOARTHRITIS IN OVER 16s’ GUIDELINE

COPING WITH FLARES

Fatigue

Fatigue is common in AS and can be overwhelming. The medications which control inflammation in AS should also reduce fatigue. You can also help to manage your own fatigue by keeping active, resting when you need to, eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep.

For further advice on how to
manage fatigue in AS click here

Flares

At times, your symptoms may get worse. These are called flares or flare ups and they can be treated by your GP or your rheumatology team. You can be given information about flares and what sort of symptoms you might experience, in addition to a flare management plan which outlines:

  • Where to get care during a flare, including who to contact (for example, a specialist rheumatology nurse)
  • What you can do to help your symptoms (such as information about stretching, exercises and how to protect your joints)
  • Coping with pain and fatigue
  • What medicines you can take
  • Coping with the effect on your home and work life
Monitoring your symptoms

Your healthcare team may want to measure the severity of your disease activity through a series of six questions on your fatigue, pain and stiffness levels called the Bath AS Disease Activity Index (BASDAI). The test is simple to complete, highly reliable and sensitive to changes in AS.

Follow-up checks
  • Your healthcare team should work together to make sure that your condition and medicines are monitored, and that you get specialist help when you need it, for example, to manage flares, symptoms or other health problems
  • You might need a check up every two years to look for signs of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. Your healthcare team can give you more information
  • If you have a fall or hurt yourself, you should seek medical advice, particularly if you are in pain

Managing flares: advice from a physiotherapist

Listen to physiotherapist Claire Harris explain how you can better manage flares

Coping with fatigue and flares: A personal perspective

Listen to Poppy and Paul talk about their experiences with managing fatigue and flares

RHE18-C002
April 2018
This tool has been developed by Novartis in collaboration with NASS